Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Art and Community for the Holidays

It's that time of year when the rush of consumerism and the noise of ordinary people turning into deal-crazed lunatics can get to be a bit much - especially for those of us who prefer creative expression over competition. However, it's also the time of year when eschewing the malls and strip malls to buy a meaningful gift can be as easy as visiting locally owned, downtown businesses.

Inspired by Kat's previous post, I compiled a list of some of the holiday shopping events happening around the state. My list emphasizes events focusing on community and creativity. If you don't live in one of these communities, plan a road trip to a neighboring town or send us your local holiday art event info.

Bloomington: Holiday Market. Today and tomorrow (Nov. 26 and 27), the Bloomington City Hall hosts the annual Holiday Market. Shop for unique gifts, including original art and crafts, and delicious local food products in the warmth of the historic Showers Building. Live entertainment will be provided by local musicians.

Lafayette/ West Lafayette: 14th annual Dickens of a Christmas. On December 4, downtown Lafayette-West Lafayette businesses will be decked-out for the holidays. The streets of historic Lafayette will be buzzing with carolers, horse-drawn carriages, and entertainers in historic costume. Downtown shops and restaurants will be dressed in their holiday best...many will have in-store entertainment and local artisans demonstrating their crafts. Don't miss the roving Dickens Players who will perform scenes from A Christmas Carol on the streets before they converge on Riehle Plaza for the last act of the play and a community sing-a-long. And then there's the holiday Farmers' Market! Delicious local food and unique local crafts! Good for the soul.

Michigan City: Holiday Artisan Market. December 3, 5-8 p.m. The Lubeznik Center for the Arts is hosting a First Friday artisan market, featuring handmade holiday ornaments donated by local artists. If you're searching for an ornament that's truly unique, this is the place to find it! Proceeds benefit the Lubeznik education programs.

Zionsville: Christmas in the Village. December 4. Start your shopping in the Village with a parade on Main Street. Enjoy refreshments, music, and more as you wander the charming town on brick-lined Main Street with its unique shops and galleries. The celebrations and shopping continue on Sunday, 11-3 p.m.

South Bend: Holiday Art Walk. December 4. Featuring ten galleries owned by and/or representing local artists, including the South Bend Museum of Art on the beautiful St. Joseph River. While searching for that perfect gift, be sure to enter the raffle for a chance to win one of several wreaths decorated by South Bend artists. Don't forget to check out Santa's House and Workshop, just north of the South Bend Chocolate Company (one of my favorite places).

Contribute to the heart of your town or city. Shop locally for the holidays (or any time of year) and enjoy genuine holiday spirit.

(Photograph by Wong Zitao - "Christmas Joy" 2007)

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